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EXCLUSIVE: 'Survivor' Castaway Malcolm Freberg on That Crazy Tribal Council: J.T.'s 'on The Naughty List'

by Jennifer Drysdale 11:11 AM PDT, March 23, 2017
Playing EXCLUSIVE: 'Survivor' Castaway Malcolm Freberg on That Crazy Tribal Council: J.T.'s 'on The Naughty List'

Survivor took its fourth victim on Wednesday night's episode, as fan favorite Malcolm Freberg was sent home.

In another Game Changers twist, Nuku and Mana were sent to tribal council after Tavua won the immunity challenge -- but only one castaway would be sent home.

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With the numbers in favor of keeping all members of Nuku, the tribe just had to stick together and hope Mana didn't have a Hidden Immunity Idol... but that proved just a little too difficult. After whispering strategy through a discussion with Jeff Probst, both tribes ended up standing in huddles as they made their decisions on who to vote for.

Nuku settled on Sierra, while Mana decided on our favorite modern-day Fabio, whose fate was sealed after Tai guessed right, playing his idol for Sierra.

It was one of the craziest moments in Survivor history, and one even Freberg can appreciate.

"There's this great line Cochran said, to go back to the second season I was on in Caramoan, we had double idol'd out Phillip. Cochran said something along the lines of 'This is why I love Survivor: these things you've never seen before.' I kind of had that moment while [Wednesday's tribal council] was going on, and everyone starts huddling up," he told ET during a phone call on Thursday. Obviously it went terribly wrong, and now I hate this choice forever, but in the moment, I was like, 'This is so cool! Like, this is something we've never seen before.' That's what makes Survivor so cool."

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Freberg may be crying his "eyes out in the fetal position" after being sent home fourth in a season which many deemed his to win, but it's not exactly like he didn't know he was being targeted.

"Me and Sandra, before we got to tribal council, kind of laughed together, because we knew it was going to be one of us that they would vote for: a two-time winner, and actually, this is the best season I've ever been in in my life. I was killing it out there. I'm usually not that good. So we knew I was kind of the shoulders in the challenges that our tribe had been riding on," he explained. "We knew it was going to be one of us. So then we go to tribal, and obviously it's just chaos."

Photo: CBS

"One thing they didn't show in the episode, and I can't explain everything that happened, because I'm still trying to figure it out myself, but I'm pretty sure at one point, Hali was mouthing to me from the other side of tribal, 'They're voting for you, they're voting for you, they're voting for you.' And I remember thinking, 'Well, alright, whatever. We're up 6-5. Like, of course they were going to vote for me,'" he recalled. "It didn't really bother me at the time, but the minute Sierra played the idol, I was like, 'Oh, sh*t.' So at that point, I knew it was over. Before I saw my name, I knew it was over."

Going into tribal council, viewers knew Tai was planning to play an idol in an attempt to save his tribe. The only question was whether or not he would play it for the right person. Looking back on the experience, Freberg says he "took every precaution against" Mana's idol -- he just didn't expect Tai to play it for someone else so early.

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"Me and Aubry at the beach before we left, sat there to the annoyance of others, for three hours, because we're the super-nerd fans of the show, talking through every possible scenario, like, what could possibly go wrong here," he shared. "We put every safety measure in place we could possibly think of. So, we played like they had an idol, but the idea that they would hand it off doesn't make any sense."

"For somebody to hand off an idol that early in the game,they would have to be 100 percent sure they were handing it to the right person. And there's no way for them to do that, unless your best friend is a stupid cowboy who gives away the plan. So, frickin' J.T. ruined everything and just no one saw it coming. But we absolutely planned for an idol."

Needless to say, "J.T.'s not getting a Christmas card this year" from Freberg.

Photo: CBS

"He's on the naughty list for forever," he joked. "But me and J.T., we were BFFs the minute we got swapped together. Me and JT immediately hit it off, and it was even encouraged by my old tribe, who was out on the beach with us, because we knew we might want to work with J.T. later. So yeah, 'Go throw down on the beach and go fishing, go hang out and hold each other's hands and sing Kumbaya.' Me and J.T. naturally just got along. And we're still friends. I sent him a text last night."

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"I'm kind of ripping him a little bit, but don't worry about it," he added. "I told him I'm going to be talking sh*t about him today because he cost me a million dollars."

Freberg might have lost out on the money -- and the title of Sole Survivor -- but this time around, he didn't have any regrets.

"This is a lot different than the first couple of times I've played. I have unfortunately experienced watching myself get kicked off of Survivor, and the first couple of times, it's really hard because I'm sitting there watching like, 'Oh sh*t, I could've done X, Y and Z differently, and I'd still be there," he said. "This time, I'm sitting there watching like, 'Yeah, I couldn't have done anything different.' What the hell else am I suppose to do right there? I'm sure the hardcore fans will come up with some theory on like a way that I could've saved myself, but in reality, what we did was a good plan. I don't think I could've done anything different except maybe tackle J.T. when he wanted to go talk to Brad."

Photo: CBS

So there might be a little resentment for Brad Culpepper, but that doesn't mean Freberg isn't rooting for him.

"The new version of Brad is awesome! I love the new version of Brad. I wanted to play with Brad while we were out there. That was sort, like, me charting a path to the end," he revealed, before listing Aubrey and Sandra as other possible winners. "Aubry's my girl. I'm absolutely cheering for Aubry. She's one of my favorites out there. And then Sandra's been to what, like, three tribal councils so far, and hasn't gotten a vote yet? Like, there's a reason that woman won Survivor two times. It's not a fluke. She knows what the hell she's doing. The minute you meet Sandra, you understand why she's won."

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Ozzy, however, is another story. Fans were quick to draw comparisons between Freberg and the four-time castaway, and excited to see them play together,but according to the California native, the two aren't "all that similar."

"Everyone always compares me and Ozzy, and I like Ozzy fine. I don't think we're all that similar. He's much better at challenges than I am, and I think I'm a little bit better at the social and strategic bit than he might be," he said. "I mean, how many people have come out here and played the game three times and lost three times? I mean, it's a small club, but it's not that exclusive. There's a lot of us...but I don't always agree with the comparison of me and Ozzy."

Photo: CBS

As for whether Freberg would come back for a fourth season, he said that if he's asked, "it's happening" -- but don't expect him to say yes to any other show.

"Coming out this time, I was almost like a little bit hesitant. I was like, 'Do I really want do go do this again?' but decided to say yes. But to go out for a fourth time? It's completely different. Now, I didn't even get to play this time. I wasn't down there like laughing and making jokes the entire time. We hadn't even gotten to like, the real strategy portion of the game, which I love, so now it's like, 'Yeah, I've got unfinished business to do,'" he confessed. "If they give me a fourth shot, like, it's happening."

"I genuinely just have no interest [in doing any other reality TV shows]. I grew up watching Survivor, that's why I wanted to do this, and if they created the same situation with no cameras around, I would approach it the exact same way," he added. "I just love the game and the experience of doing this, and I never wanted to be on television. I just love, love, love Survivor. "

Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. 

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